Eurostar + TGV

Thu, 22/09/2011 - 09:01 -- admin


new exterior TGV on way t'slopes

Taking a Eurostar to Paris and then a TGV train from Paris to the Alps is quite a good way to get to the Alps. It's not a direct as taking the direct Eurostar Ski Train (obviously) but it does have some advantages: 

1. You can reach more far more resorts this way - because there are more routes.
2. There lots of journey options, and you can travel on any day of the week.
3. Breaking the journey in Paris can be fun and interesting
4. Fares can be cheaper than on the Eurostar Ski Train
5. In Standard Class, TGVs have more table seats than the Eurostar Ski Train.

This is certainly a way of travelling that, like the Eurostar Ski Train, we would recommend.

Step 1: Take a Eurostar to Paris

new exteriorBoarding Eurostar at St Pancras

You get on the Eurostar, sit down, have a chat with your friends, go to the cafe bar, read a book, look at the scenery gliding by, share a joke with a fellow passenger.

There are lots of great ways to use the time and then before you know it your Eurostar is arriving in Paris-Nord.

You may also want to see our guide to what the Eurostar is like.

Step 2: Change from Paris-Nord to Paris-Lyon

new exteriorBoarding Eurostar at St Pancras

So next you want to get from Paris-Nord, where the Eurostar arrives, to Paris-Lyon - the station from where the TGVs depart, bound for the Alps.

The easiest way to do that is with a pre-booked taxi, where the driver waits for you at the end of the Eurostar platform, holding a placard with your name. But there is also a taxi rank, a 50 metres to the right of the Eurostar platform.

You can also use the RER (part of the Metro) which is pretty simple to do. When you get to Gare de Lyon, you can have lunch if there is time, or bring some food onto the TGV (which also has a cafe bar). 

You can find all about these options in our guide to changing station from Paris-Nord to Paris-Lyon

Step 3: Whizz to the Alps on the TGV

new exteriorTGV cafe bar

Now you are on the TGV, Paris slipping away as you speed out of the suburbs and through the French countryside.

Fields, lakes, farms, houses - you'll see what people do with their back gardens, what little villages look like here.

Head to the cafe bar, grab a meal, some snacks, coffees or a bottle of wine. Have a snooze, do some work, play games, chat, dream about the slopes. When you arrive at your destination station, it is a relatively short taxi or bus ride up to your ski resort.

You may also want to see our guide to what the TGV is like.

Step 4: Transfer to your resort

new exteriorEight-seater transfer vehicle

The final step is to get from the train station to the ski resort.  These transfers are typically between 15 minutes and 45 minutes,  and are far shorter than airport transfers - which can take 1.5 - three hours - or even longer.

It's a good idea pre-book a taxi transfer (although at popular stations like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers you can find a taxi driver on the spot too).

There are also buses from train stations to ski resorts, usually timed to coincide with the arrival of the TGV.

For every ski resort on the Snowcarbon website, we have a transfer guide page to show you taxi and bus options and how to book them.

Eurostar + TGV vs flying to the Alps

Is the Eurostar + TGV as fast as the direct Eurostar Ski Train?  Yes it is. 

Is it is as fast as flying? Yes, incredibly it usually is, door to door. Have a look at this Top Gear style plane vs train race where Snowcarbon co-founder Daniel Elkan races experience ski writer Neil English to the Three Valleys. 

Daniel travelled in Standard Class when making of this film, while Neil flew EasyJet.

We won't tell you who won the race (you'll have to watch the film), but Daniel certainly had a more comfortable journey...

Outbound schedules - Paris to the Alps by TGV


Depart London Also calls Arrive Paris-Nord Runs
07:19 07:55 13:00  

We have a special page on Snowcarbon, called Live Ski Trains Price Check, where you can view ticket prices and book the journey.

Once you arrive in Lyon, you can have lunch at the station (see below) or grab a snack (from the many outlets at the station) to eat on the local train that you'll take to your resort.  Lyon is an easy station to change platform, with escalators and lifts. Here are the onward train schedules:

Depart Paris Destination Arrive Days of the week Ski resorts
13:36 Briancon change Valence Ville 18:17 Montgenevre, Serre Chevalier
14:08 Annecy direct 16:07 La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand
14:14 Grenoble direct 15:49 Alpe d'Huez, Les2Alpes, Chamrousse
13:40 Cluses direct 16:35 Avoriaz, Les Gets, Morzine, Samoens, Les Carroz, Flaine
13:40 Sallanches direct 16:46 Megeve
13:40 St Gervais direct 16:53 Les Contamines, St Gervais
13:50 Moutiers direct 16:20 Courchevel, Meribel, La Tania, Les Menuires, Val Thorens
13:50 Aime la Plagne direct 16:40 La Plagne
13:50 Landry direct 16:49 Peisey-Vallandry
13:50 Bourg St Maurice direct 16:58 La Rosiere, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d'Isere, Sainte Foy
14:50 St Michel-Valloire direct 17:37 Valmeinier, Valloire
14:50 Modane direct 17:53 Val Cenis

How to book Eurostar + TGV journeys

new exterior  Sitting comfortably

There are two ways to book Eurostar + TGV journeys.

You can book the journey independently, or you can book the journey via a ski tour operator as part of a rail-ski package with the train included.

Prices start from £109 return from London to the Alps, but on peak dates it can be higher (£200 - £400 return) depending on when you book.

You can find out more about how to book Eurostar + TGV journeys in our guide to booking ski holidays by train.

In summary

Taking a morning Eurostar from London to Paris (or in some cases Lille) and then changing to a TGV is an enjoyable way to travel to ski resorts in the Alps, TGV trains are very smooth and comfortable and they can get you to lots of ski resorts - and often it is a as fast as flying, door-to-door. This option can make a cheaper alternative to the Eurostar Ski Train, especially on peak dates.